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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Blog? I Have a Blog?!?!!

Thanks y'all so much for your sweet comments and private emails this past week. Contrary to popular opinion, no, we didn't receive a referral recently. (Darn it.) And no, no one died. (Thank goodness.)

I actually don't know what happened except perhaps that the world came to an end. And I say that because I seemed to momentarily run out of things to say. Shocking, I know, especially since my little blog is usually endless ramblings about nothing of any importance anyway. Add to that fact the very busy month that is our October, and wham! bam! off I disappeared into real life.

With no notice.

This past week I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to navigate the Tongginator's first grade year. It's been filled with internal angst on my end, mostly because I don't want to be THAT mom, but the Tongginator's teacher this year and her teacher from last year seriously disagree on reading curriculum and where the Tongginator should be. I've tried to be content with the drastic change, because the Tongginator is in the highest level reading group for her class (so is it even right to expect more?), and because I know the Tongginator is behind her peers a bit socially and emotionally (so reading books closer to her grade level can only help in that regard), and because I see the rapid pace that the Pirate Queen is taking my girl through her reader, so I'm fairly certain she is a teacher who just doesn't want to skip over anything (and I so get that).

Plus, did I mention I don't want to be THAT mom???

Except that the Tongginator went from self-selecting books from the tail end of the Magic Tree House series, the entire Ivy and Bean series and the occasional Roald Dahl humor book to wanting only EASY picture books and level one or level two readers. And although it should never be about comparing, the children who are in different classes who were in a reading group with the Tongginator last year are not reading from a second grade reader like my girl is... they are reading chapter books. Chapter books that they already read in Ms. Confetti's class last year, but whatever.

I don't know which is worse. But regardless, something doesn't seem quite right to me.

And of course life isn't always about self-inflicted internal angst. There's also the external angst that lurks in the background when adopting internationally. Because we just completed - yesterday - all of the paperwork necessary for our fourth (count! em! - FOUR!) homestudy update. Through no fault of our own (ahem ... other than the small fact that I thought our I-600 expired in December rather than November), it was a mad scramble to obtain the FBI fingerprints, medical physicals, DMV records and other such Important Paperwork in time.

Y'all should have been there with me during the fingerprinting appointment.

We went to a seedy part of town. To a private eye's office. Oh yes, we did. And we know it was a seedy section of town because it LOOKED seedy. Oh, and the doors to the office require Buzzing Before Opening. If that's not seedy, I don't know what is. The receptionist's counter was also littered with magazines... ones like PI Magazine, with headlines screaming out "how to catch a cheating spouse" and "investigating a taser case."

Oh, and "the Trojan solved it."

Somehow I don't think that was in reference to an ancient Greek.

I've also been working hard to combat The Mean Girl Situation, doing everything I can to both improve my daughter's social skills and expand her circle of friends. Because - while I feel confident that the Tongginator never did anything to hurt or anger said Mean Girls since they've refused to play with her since they were all 20 months old - that doesn't mean my Tongginator doesn't need to work on some things.

(We don't call her the Tongginator for nothing, y'all.)

In order to help the Tongginator work on her social skill, I've been forcing myself to work on MY social skills, too. My introverted, sensory self has been doing things like (gasp!) starting conversations with other moms, actually responding to emails from people in my real life, planning playdates and - most extreme of all - actually hosting a cookie baking date last week with three little girls.

Cookie baking. ME! I told you the world was coming to an end.

But at least I'm back to blogging.

I think.


bbmomof2boys said...

Welcome back - glad everything is ok, in a sense.

Reading - when my oldest was in elementary we had to meet with each teacher and ask them to give him some harder work. He was always more mature than the rest of his class and always ahead of them in math, reading, etc. Poor kid would come home and say he was bored at school. So, I'm telling you this because of what we had to do each year. We had to PUSH the teacher, make them realize that each kid was different, but to also realize that they were just kids. I know, confusing. Go back, talk with her. Maybe T is feeling too much pressure for reading?

Bullies - that same boy who was ahead of his class also had bullies. We talked with the parents, his daycare, school. NOTHING helped. On top of that he is a very emotional kid. One look from me and he would start bawling. (heh...mean mom!) Anyway, those same kids ended up being some of his best friends as they all got older - one was even his best man at his wedding. You are doing the right thing, teach T how to roll with the punches so to speak. It was hard to see him come home in tears but it was also one of lifes lessons.

Missed you!


Laurie said...

Welcome back! That said, don't you go dropping off the face of the earth again without some warning! :) Scared me! I'm going to personally email you about the topic of reading... let's just say... I can relate!

Dawn said...

Glad all is well. Life here is full of the crazies right now, too.

Reading: I think you are right to stay on top of the situation and push for T. My son went from loving math (and performing way above grade level) in K and first to hating math in second because he had a teacher who insisted he work on level with the rest of the class. It took us until sixth grade (and an unusually exceptional teacher) to convince him that he was great at math. Today, he's a senior in high school and has completed all available advanced level maths (some for college credit) - but how much easier it would have been if he hadn't been "stunted" for those several years. You can champion for T without being "that mom."

Mean girls: I hesitate to give advice in this area. We've dealt with it in spades, too, and I'm certain we'll deal with it some more as my daughter just entered high school this year. My guess is that you probably won't entirely resolve the situation and I would suggest continuing to teach T how to cope with it. After all, a lot of high school mean girls simply grow up to be mean women that we must continue to deal with. (You know you've encountered them! LOL)

So glad you've found a PI to use. Maybe you can use him to dig up dirt on the mean girl and her family. Oh, come on... I joke! (Sort of. LOL)

Be blessed!

autumnesf said...

Life happens! Glad you are knee deep in it.

You did cookie baking??? Be still my heart. Talk about putting yourself out there. Oy. I get shivers just thinking about it. And actually talking to other moms and making play dates? Amazing. Makes me want to hide in the closet! LOL!

And hey....this was a good taste of what us poor blog readers will have to face when number 2 arrives and your hands are way to full to even remember you have a blog!

Wendy said...

You know I'm going to leave a my-two-cents comment about the reading situation, being a language arts/reading teacher and all! Here's the thing, regardless of their reading levels, as you well know, children should be reading material that is developmentally appropriate for their ages and maturity levels. Many kids--and I'm not saying Miss T is one of them, are amazing word callers, but don't yet have the life experiences and comprehension skills that allow for really meaningful reading. And, let's face it, most six year olds cannot process material like the alternate realities of fantasy, for example.

As a teacher, I would be promoting self-selection of "just right" text for all my students, but only after giving quite a bit of guidance about what that means. At this point, your daughter seems to know what she can handle both in terms of reading level and understanding. That should be encouraged and it doesn't seem like it is, so I totally get why you are getting frustrated at this point. Sounds like Miss T is in a much more teacher-centered environment rather than a teacher-guided one. Big difference.

And do they have her in a--perish the thought--basal reader??? Or am I mis-reading your post?

Your daughter would really benefit from a Reader's Workshop type model, where she self-selects books at her independent level, has time to read independently, conferences with her teacher about her connections to text, and has time to write meaningfully about what she has read.

At the same time, re-reading lower level texts from time to time to build fluency, intonation, and expresion, is all well and good, but that shouldn't be all that's going on!

From your end, you can just make sure that you have made appropriate texts available to your daughter at home (library, whatever) and that you and she discuss those books in meaningful ways on a frequent basis. Have her keep a journal about her thoughts about her reading even.

That is until you figure out how you want to approach this teacher. 'Cause somehow? I'm pretty sure you will.

LucisMomma said...

I would not worry a whole lot about your daughter choosing the easier books instead of the chapter books right now. You know she can read, so perhaps this is a way for her to keep reading (which she obviously loves) and lower her own stress levels. Bibliotherapy with easier books. I used to read like Tongginator, and then choose Archie comics digests for relief--for something easy that did not tax my brain.

And good for you, for reaching out when it's not comfortable. I am working on that, too (sensory problems here with myself). It is hard but rewarding. Part of my problem is also intertwined with depression. My DD is good for wanting more interaction with others, so she draws me out into situations that might be uncomfortable for me but she needs them--so it helps both of us.

Hugs, TM! And glad you are just busy. :) Our Sept was like that, I was glad to flip the calendar to October.


prechrswife said...

Glad to see you back! (And to know that it was just the chaos of real life that caused your disappearance from blog land. :-) )

As for the reading thing, I don't have a lot of concrete advice for you--I've always taught younger kids or older ones, and our oldest is only in pre-K, but I wouldn't worry about being "that mom." You want to make sure your child is progressing. That's only natural.

And the fingerprinting appointment location...that would have given me the creeps. Glad you're done with that.

Oh, yeah...and I started a new blog last week...

Kim K. said...

Glad to have you back. I figured life was full right now and it definitely sounds like you are doing everything you can to help your daughter. Extra hugs.

PS. I've been wearing my Halloween charm on a silver chain every day since 10/1. The larger charm is hanging on my Halloween tree. Thank you again!

one thankfulmom said...

Glad to hear you were just taking a breather. I have times when I will be blogging away, and then I'll get interrupted by a trip or out of town guests, and I lose my momentum. I begin to wonder if I have anything valuable left to say. Once I sit down at the computer and get rolling again, it all comes back to me -- my love of writing, reading comments, interacting with other moms, teaching. Fortunately my readers seem to forgive me for my occasional absences!


sara said...

Holy bananas...just reading about you getting ready for the homestudy made me shudder. We did three before we eventually got Pie. And my fingers are crossed in a near crippling grip that we'll have to do several more so we can fill up our house with babies. But it still made me cringe!

Glad you're back and nothing worse than a cookie baking party was going on :)

Patricia/NYC said...

So glad you are back! Missed you!!

I know what you mean...I checked my own blog the other day only to find out I hadn't updated in a couple of weeks myself! lol!

Mom2Four said...

Well, if the thought of homeschooling crosses your mind, we'd love to have you join us over at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Fortheloveofmykids/ We are a bunch of homeschooling mamas of adopted kids. Its a great place to get questions answered even if you're just considering homeschooling.

Larissa said...

Happy you're back TM!
I missed your blogging so much!
Love to learn about adoption with you so I can be ready when my time come.


Cedar said...

So glad you are back, and it was busy life that kept you away. I didn't e-mail or comment because I didn't want you to know, I mean think, I am a stalker!

We are having a similar issue with my first grader, except it is in regards to Math. We have conferences tomorrow, so I am hopeful, but really? they are spending the next month learning how to count back from 120? He's been able to do that for 2 years.

Aus said...

Yeah - missed you too - but figured if you weren't blogging you weren't e-mailing either! Don't you hate it when RL gets in the way of VL? ;)

hugs - aus and co.

Myrnie said...

Good luck :P Did you see the NY Times article I posted on FB, about "mean girls" in grade school? Kind of interesting stuff....

Annie said...

From one sensory introverted self to another, way to go!!! I am so glad you are back and are ok! I wish a knew of some really great girl oriented series to recommend to ya but I don't have 1st grade girls - yet! My 2nd grad boy does the same thing, though. He doesn't want to read the books he should be reading (he is advanced in his reading too) unless he finds a series that he really, really likes and then he can go through them in record time! If he doesn't have a series he likes, he wants to read Dr. Suess!! LOL!

Jboo said...

Glad you're back. What an action-packed update! Don't worry about being "that Mom" at school. I've been there and am there right now and it's ok (at least I think it is).

Have been on a bit of a blogging break myself -- blogger's block, I call it!


The Byrd's Nest said...

Yay!!! Life is not complete without reading your blog:)

Do you guys have this book? "My ABC bible verses:Hiding God's word in little Hearts" by Susan Hunt

Connie told me about this book over a year ago and we read it almost every night before bed. Missy and Bill are brother and sister and there is a real life situation for each bible verse and it has really helped Lottie. (Emma is still to immature to "get it") but it talks alot about using a "soft answer to turn away wrath". Walking away from situations like that because Jesus wants us to. Anyway..that was probably more than you wanted to know! Love ya girl!

AwesomeCloud and family said...


It's not a direct answer to your picture book problem, but it's somewhat relevant.

Sharie said...

Oh boy oh boy! I've barely had time to stop by myself, but I did find myself REALLY missing your Sunday linkage. It's my Sunday morning ritual.

I had Amelia's first conference last week. I looked at the clock and realized I had been there 50 minutes and it was nearly an hour before I left the 20 minute conference - thank goodness no one was waiting behind me. SO I guess you could say, I'm THAT mom. I had a lot of questions. In preschool I got 10 minutes every morning, so I've been dying at the lack of communication.
Amelia is struggling a bit socially too. It's never easy.

Wanda said...

Glad you updated - I was about to e-mail to check if everything was alright. Not that I was checking up on you or anything.

Hats off to you for stepping out of your comfort zone. Cookies even - impressive!!

Michelle said...

I feel ya on the not wanting to be "that mom"....currently in search of a first grade for MaM so that I don't have to be her myself! School #1 was a strikeout, hoping the next school is a little more organized, geared to meet students needs, etc.

The only issue I've ever encountered (as a teacher) with young children being rock-star readers is that sometimes the comprehension lags because they simply don't have the life experience to know that the books they can read are actually talking about. But MaM follows along the Magic Treehouse just fine (I read them aloud to her), so don't really get it. And it STINKS that now she's not interested in chapter books.

Patty O. said...

Good for you! I think I need to work on this as well. I have actually been thinking about this lately, how my social shyness and hesitancy to join in big groups might be affecting Danny's social development. We rarely have people over, because I just can't take big groups in my house--the noise and stress levels are too high for me to bear.

Still, perhaps if I overcame these things, it might help Danny....

I really admire what you are doing. Hopefully, I can figure out how to do the same--stretch myself socially so I can be a good model for Danny.